The world's most accurate BB gun by Tom Gaylord from Pyramyd Air” /> The world's most accurate BB gun, airguns report post” />

Monday, May 26, 2008

Daisy Avanti 499 Champion - Part 1
The world's most accurate BB gun

by B.B. Pelletier


Daisy's 499 Champion may look something like a Red Ryder, but don't be fooled. This is the world's most accurate BB gun.


A question from a father last Thursday caused me to write this report. He was looking for an airgun to train his 11-year-old daughter who is slightly built. They had tried both a Daisy Red Ryder and a Crosman 760. The Red Ryder wasn't accurate enough and the 760 was too hard for her to pump. And, when you need just the right airgun, who ya gonna call?

The ONLY solution
There are many wonderful airguns in this world, but when it comes to the lightest/most accurate kids' target gun - BAR NONE - we have to look at the WORLD'S MOST ACCURATE BB GUN. I didn't make that title up. That's the slogan Daisy used when they brought out the 499 in 1976 (Note: the 499 was modified to the 499B in 1980 and to the Avanti 499 Champion in 2003). The gun came about through pressure from shooting coaches around the country who were unsatisfied with Daisy's model 99 Target Special. Made since 1959, the model 99 was supposed to be a target gun kids could use in the International BB gun Championships that Daisy and the Jaycees started in 1966. The problem was that the guns just weren't accurate enough.

Coaches around the country started buying model 99 shot tubes, then sending them back to Daisy and asking for different tubes. When Daisy inquired about this practice, they were informed that SOME of the shot tubes had slightly smaller bores and were more accurate than the rest. These, the coaches were putting on their club guns. They were cherry-picking the shot tubes to get more accurate guns - imagine that!

Daisy responds
To their credit, Daisy met the challenge head-on and built a new BB gun from the ground up. They made the new gun a single-shot, which is perfect for a target shooter. They gave it a precision barrel (a tube held to close internal tolerances - BB guns are smoothbore, after all), a magnetic BB seat at the breech, a de-tuned mainspring and the same target sights the model 99 had enjoyed. This new model they called the 499, and for many years, Daisy would sell it only to clubs. In fact, I think that I had something to do with its release to the general public. When I published The Airgun Letter, I tested one, bought it, and immediately began telling everyone who would listen how to get through Daisy's red tape to buy the gun.

Daisy's Marketing VP told me the 499 was virtually handmade and they weren't making any money on it selling it to clubs, so they couldn't possibly make enough to sell to the public. I suggested raising the price! You'd think they would have thought of that. They didn't think people would pay for a target BB gun like the 499 when the Red Ryder sold for less than half the price. I made it my mission to spread the word. When the distraught dad asked about a lightweight accurate airgun for his daughter, I knew the time had come to preach again. I last reported on the 499 back in June of 2005, and I suppose many people have not seen that report, so here it is.

The gun
This is a GUN, not a rifle, because it has a smooth bore. It's also a muzzleloader! The shooter drops a BB into the funnel-shaped muzzle and listens for it to roll down to the magnetic shot seat. If you use Avanti Precision Ground Shot, that takes 2-5 seconds. If you use regular over-the-counter BBs, the time is less, because they are more irregular and somewhat undersized.


The muzzle is a 2.75" deep funnel that leads to the real barrel.


The current model has a wooden stock and a plastic cocking lever and trigger. The cocking effort is extremely light and should be easy even for small children. The gun comes with a peep sight at the rear and a globe front sight with interchangeable inserts. A small package of inserts comes with the gun.

The gun weighs just a hair over 3 lbs. and has a pull length of 13-1/4". Of course, the length can be shortened with a saw. The gun has a manual safety on the right side of the receiver. It also has an anti-beartrap mechanism so the trigger does not work when the cocking lever is open. That keeps youngsters from rapping their fingers, because the cocking lever cannot suddenly close on them.


Safeties aren't common on target guns, but the 499 has one. It's manual.


Sight upgrade
For another $25, you can buy the 5899 upgraded peep sight. It isn't a precision sight but I would buy it, because it adjusts with knobs. The sight that comes standard on the gun uses a friction fit to hold the aperture but adjusting the sight picture is an iffy thing. Remember that most of the parts on the upgraded sight are plastic, and there's some slop in the mechanism. You may need to turn the knobs more than you think to get the results you want. One of the customer reviews says a 5899 receiver sight was included with his gun, so check with Pyramyd Air before you purchase something unnecessary.

I'm going to break this report here, but the second half will come this week.

Sharp deal!
Now, for a special treat! While I was at the NRA Annual Meetings a week ago, I happened to see a knife sharpener unlike any I'd seen before. The Warthog V-Sharp is quite the rig, as I'm sure the picture reveals. As an acid test, I handed them my Executive model Swiss Army knife. It had a near-shaving sharp edge, but the 440C stainless steel cannot hold that edge worth a darn. I told myself if they could do it better than me, I'd buy one of their machines.


Quite the contraption, only this knife sharpener really works as advertised.


Well, they did. My knife was no longer shaving-sharp - it was cutting sharp! And it still is 9 days later. The 25-deg. edge the Warthog V-Sharp put on the blade is a superior cutting edge. How superior, you ask? Enough to make me not think twice about spending $125 for a Warthog of my own.

The machine arrived last Wednesday and I was sharpening knives within minutes. By the end of the day, all my wife's kitchen knives were sharp, along with 20 of my own. For the first time in our marriage, she actually raved about how sharp I'd gotten her knives. Before, when I got them shaving sharp, no single knife would hold up through a one-meal preparation. Now they can each handle several meals, and a 30-second touch-up gets them ready to go again. No more 2-hour sessions every two weeks (if I were inclined to keep them all sharp, which I'm not).

Two things you need to know about me - I'm lazy and I love sharp knives. Now that I use the Warthog V-Sharp, mine won't quite shave hair anymore, but they'll cut boxes, meat and vegetables all day. Besides, I already have a shaving razor.


The Warthog V-Sharp knife sharpener, like the Daisy 499, fits in that rare category of "things that actually work."


I'm showing you all this because we've discussed sharpening knives in the blog. This machine is for those of you who want sharp knifes but don't want to spend hours sharpening them.

Visit the Warthog website. Watch their instructive videos. I'm simply telling you that it really does work. I've spent hundreds of dollars for other stones, steels, ceramics, diamond stones and "systems" that didn't do what this one does.

35 Comments:

At May 26, 2008 7:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey bb I have An off topic question. I have a pretty new rws model 34. The problem is that I dont have a chrony and have been using the pba raptors to make sure the rifle stayed up to par. This rifle used to break the sound barrier every time with the pellets but now doesn't what can be the problem. Also as elevation increases, what happens to the speed required to break the barrier?

 
At May 26, 2008 8:36 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...

Sound barrier,

As altitude increases, the speed of sound decreases.

B.B.

 
At May 26, 2008 9:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi B.B.

Interesting post, as usual. I have another off-topic question. I'm planning on tuning/lubing my new B40 - 1st time doing something like this. I've read a lot of info (including your old posts) and I'm still not clear on just one thing: Should I lube the interior walls of the compression cylinder when reassembling or not? Some don't mention any lube there, some say a thin film of moly, and some say silicone grease. Any recommendations? Thx-
George in TX

 
At May 26, 2008 10:20 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...

Texas George,

I've never heard of silicone on the compression chamber walls, but I always use moly. Burnish it into the metal with a dowel and don't leave much residue.

And remember that the compression chamber is only the front portion of the spring cylinder. You'll probably use black tar for the mainspring, so no moly is needed there.

B.B.

 
At May 26, 2008 10:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shadow Express dude
Yet another off topic, but intresting question. (statment) My shadow express is vibating at different frequencies. 14.3gr premiers have a lot of spring twang, but shotshells are much louder and have little vibration or spring twang despite being hevier(17gr). I reload shotshells by finding discharged wads, filling it up with 26 #8shot, then I put a peice of q-tip to hold the shot together. Here's the question, when I fire reloaded shells, they sound louder than a 22 short. I'm worried that the noise is from the piston hitting the end of the chamber too quickly (similar to dry firing). Should I try to lighten the loads to the standerd factory weight? My best guess on the matter is a torn breach seal could (under higher pressure from hevier loads) release most of the air to quickly and out of the breach section.

 
At May 26, 2008 10:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good morning B.B.

Now that is one interesting looking contraption! If you adjust the angle of the rods do you think you could get razor sharp too? I love a sharp nice, seems like when you cut yourself it just does a nicer job.

As for the 499 I think your preaching sold me. I had a red ryder that was was super accurate, but an oblong bb swelled the barrel and that ended. I was going to symply buy another but this little gun sounds pretty cool.

thanks as always

jw

 
At May 26, 2008 10:56 AM, Anonymous Vince said...

Anonymous... what do you mean by "and have been using the pba raptors to make sure the rifle stayed up to par"

How is using a very light pellet going to keep the rifle "up to par"? There is some suspicion that the ultra-light pellets are actually BAD for the gun, and it may be prudent to check with Umarex USA to see if they have a minimum pellet weight recommendation.

Overall, though, the general consensus seems to be that normal lead pellets, while slower, are more accurate, better for the gun, and (obviously) a heckuvalot cheaper than PBA.

Also, I've found that Diana's sometimes have a breech seal issue. What the problem is and how to fix it was blogged some time back.

 
At May 26, 2008 11:14 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...

JW,

There are two other grind angles on the machine, and 17 degrees would probably shave. But I want edge-holding, so I'll stick with 25 degrees.

B.B.

 
At May 26, 2008 12:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

B.B....I'm the dad who last week suggested the other fellow give the Red Ryder another try.
And yup...the store had a 499 in stock...someone had special ordered it and never picked it up...I'm happy anyhow because my 7 year old loves his Red Ryder...the plan is when hi 4 year old brother turns 6 he will inherit the RR and the older will graduate to a 499.
But here's my question of the day.
Does anyone make a BB pistol that looks like an old cowboy gun?
I know Daisy used to...the 179 I think it was called...but I can't seem to find any now.
Again...just for plinking for a couple of kids who want to have fun and look like cowboys.

 
At May 26, 2008 12:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you leave your pellets in the sun on a hot day will it affect accuracy any?

 
At May 26, 2008 1:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have an Airforce handpump and for the second time in less than five months it does not fill to more than 400psi. I have filled an Airforce tank about 35 times since it was fixed. I pump it 75 times and then let it cool for 15 minutes or more. When you pull up it is very hard but it slides down easy. Airforce said it was the gauge the last time I called them. Do you know about what might be going on with the pump, am I doing something wrong?

 
At May 26, 2008 2:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

B.B. and all, here's to Memorial Day.

Thanks for keeping us knife sharpeners in mind. I am impressed if you are with a piece of equipment if your old methods can cut frog hair. I had a look at the online videos and am quite intrigued by this sharpener. But I was more interested in your post which seemed to indicate an inverse relationship between sharpness and durability. I had supposed that a sharper knife would also hold an edge longer because the dulling process would have longer to go, but it sounds like the sharper you get our knife, the shorter the edge will last. Could this be because, as I gather from the discussion of sharpening angles, that sharpness requires a thinner blade which wears out faster? Also, if you used a bigger sharpening angle by hand would that decrease the amount of time to sharpen?

Care to give up your secrets to cutting frog hair, yet?

Matt61

 
At May 26, 2008 2:21 PM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...

Cowboy dad,

It's the wrong era for cowboys. The manufacturers want to make tactical guns today. Cowboy guns will be a "new" design in the future. I hope.

B.B.

 
At May 26, 2008 2:27 PM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...

Hot pellets,

It might, but I've never read of a test on that phenomenon.

You could be the first.

B.B.

 
At May 26, 2008 2:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

B.B.

I'm gathering that the 499 has turned out to be solvent for Daisy. My only question about this gun has to do with its extremely light weight. Shooting my IZH 61 and B30 has been quite a revelation about the importance of weight for accuracy. The barrels of the two rifles seem to be comparable as far as I can tell but boy does the weight of the B30 anchor that sight picture and hold it steady. I would think that at 3 pound gun like the 499 would be hard to hold steady but maybe this doesn't matter for the short distances it's designed for.

I'm circling like a shark towards purchase of a Smith & Wesson SW1911 which is coming close to my biggest outlay yet for a gun. The only remaining question is the type of sights. I only plan to shoot targets with this pistol, so initially, I was willing to spend an extra $80 for adjustable sights. But for me, a pistol is not just for accuracy--in which case I would use a rifle or a match air pistol--it's also for the fun that goes with tactical-style shooting. So, now I'm wondering if adjustable target sights will be slower to pick up than tactical sights like the Lo-mount Novak sights which are the other option. On the same subject, are the national match sights for the M1 Garand slower to acquire than the standard ones?

By the way, the cantilevered hold is doing outstanding work. It's amazing how steady I can hold now. I can drop a string of 3 or 4 shots right on top of each other. Thanks.

Matt61

 
At May 26, 2008 2:40 PM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...

AirForce handpump,

If your AirForce hand pump is the latest design with the heat sink ribs on the base, it never has to be cooled like other pumps. But allowing it to cool won't cause a problem.

The biggest cause of problems with ant hand pump is when the user wipes off the lubrication on the outside of the pump cylinder. If you do that, the pump will fail. Other than any kind of disassembly, that's about the only bad thing you can do to one of these pumps.

Your problem sounds like a leak in one of the connections. Are they all still holding air? Have you performed a soap bubble test to confirm that? For the pump to stall out at 400 psi, the leak has to be very fast.

If you have done the leak test and found no leaks, you have a problem inside the pump. You need to contact AirForce Airguns to have them check it for you. Your warranty should cover that.

B.B.

 
At May 26, 2008 2:50 PM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...

Matt61,

From my experience, the sharper the edge the quicker it dulls. However, your other question about sharpening time is related to the angle of the edge. If the angle is already formed, then sharpening goes faster than if you have to first form the angle.

The Warthog machine does both - form the angle and then sharpen it. The second time you sharpen the same knife with the same angle, it goes much faster.

Sharpness with regard to cutting ability in this case also relates to the size of the diamond grit used. The edge is very jagged, when seen enlarged, and that jaggedness is a big part of why this cutting edge is superior for edge-holding ability.

B.B.

 
At May 26, 2008 2:56 PM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...

Matt61,

The weight issue is the reason why the rules allow weight to be added to the gun.

Matt61,

Your Garand sights are a rear aperture, which is the fastest non-optical precision sight around. That why bthey are used by many armies around the world.

I have a Novak set on my Wilson Combat 1911 and a Heine 8-Ball set on my Taurus. The Taurus is much faster to acquire, but the Novak, which is also used as a precision post and notch, if more accurate.

I'm glad to hear of your success with the cantilevered hold. Keep practicing.

B.B.

 
At May 26, 2008 2:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My pump does have the heat sinks on the base, even if it takes 150 or more pumps to fill you don't have to let the pump cool? I have not wiped any of the grease off the pump and the connections hold air I will call Airforce and see what they say.

 
At May 26, 2008 3:12 PM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...

Your pump has been tested with 50 hours of continuous pumping, only stopping to change air tanks. It never needs to be cooled.

But you are doing the right thing, because something is either wrong inside or you have a loose connection. Did you do the soap bubble test?

B.B.

 
At May 26, 2008 3:26 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

Warthog is worthless compared to the Spyderco Sharpmaker.

 
At May 26, 2008 5:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

b.b...."it's the wrong era for cowboys"
Yea...that's what I thought...too bad...I'd far rather my boys grow up with the morals of 'Bonanza' than 'The Fast and The Furious'.

 
At May 26, 2008 9:28 PM, Anonymous Bruce said...

HI B.B. How does the Warhog compair to the Chef'sChoice Model 120 which I've used for years? The 120 will give me an edge maybe 90% of what I can do with a Lansky type system in 10% of the time. Thanks much

 
At May 27, 2008 1:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

B.B.

Thanks for all the info. Maybe with all of the cowboy action shooting that I see, a return of the cowboy era is around the corner.

Matt61

 
At May 27, 2008 7:18 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...

Bruce,

I haven't used a Chef's Choice, so I have no comparison. However, I have used the Spyderco Sharpmaker, and the Warthog is far superior.

B.B.

 
At May 27, 2008 5:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cowboy Dad,
They had double actions back in the olden days. Maybe that crosman which looks like a python 357 could pass for an ersatz S&W no.3 or 1884. I think the gun that became the M&P/model 10 came out in 1889. Billy the Kid was supposed to have had a double action on him during his last shootout.

 
At May 27, 2008 7:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is kinda off topic but where can you by daisy 880 parts.

 
At May 27, 2008 7:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey bb i have an old crosman pistol that makes a wierd pumping sound whats up with the seal

 
At May 28, 2008 7:52 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...

880,

You can get parts from Daisy's Customer Service department.

www.daisy.com

B.B.

 
At May 28, 2008 7:59 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...

Weird pumping sound,

When was the last time you lubricated the piston head with Crosman Pellgunoil;? You should be lubricating them every six months.

The seals may have been destroyed by this time, but it's worth a try.

B.B.

 
At May 28, 2008 4:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks i will get some of that oil
and new parts. thanks again bb

 
At May 30, 2008 1:57 PM, Blogger sk73 said...

Just a comment about the 499. As the result of BB's recommendation in an earlier blog, I bought one recently. I'm not a child by any stretch of the imagination but I really enjoy the 499. The trigger was bad at first but it either smoothed out with use or I adjusted it. I don't feel it affects accuracy [or causes inaccuracy] any longer. It is light but I have to say that I have adjusted to the weight too. The peep sight [can't think of the number] comes packed with the gun. You do have to remove the standard sight and install the new one. The stock is too short for many adults but a Limb Saver recoil pad added about an inch and it's ok now.

I find this gun is amazingly accurate out to about 20 feet. It may be accurate beyond that but my 61 year-old eyes aren't much good with a peep sight on a small target beyond that. So I don't know whether spread is from the gun or from me after 20 feet.

 
At May 30, 2008 2:10 PM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...

sk73,

Thanks for your observations.

B.B.

 
At August 21, 2008 1:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BB,I recently ordered my 11 year old Grandson an Avanti 499. I must agree with most all the positive comments on the air rifle with one exception. The trigger pull is less than ideal and a whole lot more creep than necessay. Two questions.
1. Where can I buy trigger assembly parts? Daisy does not seem to list them for sale?
2.Have you seen Cal Smith's article on the 499 trigger and alterations and what are your comments: http://www.fortbendshooting.org/bbgun_trigger.html

Thanks!

Pete Peterson
Mesa, Az

 
At August 21, 2008 5:02 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...

Pete,

For anything having to do with the 499, you have to be a team coach for Daisy to recognize you. They have the parts, but they aren't willing to sell them to the public.

You might be able to get them through a couple dealers Daisy recognizes:

John Groenewold, PO Box 830, Mundelein, IL 60060-0830, (847) 566-2365
http://www.jgairguns.biz

or

Jim Coplen, PO Box 7297, Rochester, MN. 55903 (507)281-2314.

I looked at the trigger tune. The man did a lot of good work describing his procedure, but it looks like there is a learning curve. I wouldn't try it unless I had a host of parts on hand.

I personally learned to work the trigger as it comes and I do very well with it. Since the parts are all plastic and soft metal, I don't want mine to be altered for safety concerns.

B.B.

 

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